August 3, 2011
UFC ditches Montreal for T.O.
By NEIL SPRINGER, QMI Agency
Sorry, Montreal, but the UFC is leaving you for Toronto.
The world’s largest MMA organization was planning a Dec. 10 fight card in your city — UFC 140 to be exact — but simply can’t resist Toronto’s charm.
It’s nothing personal, though.
The UFC really appreciates your Bell Centre drawing over 20,000 fans on three separate occasions. But it’s also ashamed to admit that while it brought you big shows over the years, it was still flirting with Toronto on the side.
Then the Ontario city swept the UFC off its feet in April when more than 55,000 people crammed the Rogers Centre for the biggest show in company history. And now, the UFC is looking for a more intimate evening at the 20,000-plus Air Canada Centre.
But you understand, don’t you? An MMA organization has to look out for itself.
NEED TO KNOW
(Largest live audiences in UFC history:)
UFC 129 (Toronto — April 30, 2011): 55,724
UFC 124 (Montreal — Dec. 11, 2010): 23,152
UFC 97 (Montreal — April 18, 2009): 21,451
UFC 83 (Montreal — April 19, 2008): 21,390
UFC 68 (Columbus, Ohio — Mar. 3, 2007): 19,049 (17,358 paid)
BAD TO WORSE
The relationship between UFC and Strikeforce parent company Zuffa, LLC and Golden Glory has gone from bad to worse.
It all started when Strikeforce heavyweight champion and Golden Glory fighter Alistair Overeem refused to compete on a planned Sept. 10 card due to injury. The event would have seen him fight Antonio Silva in the semifinals of the heavyweight grand prix tournament. Overeem then signed on to compete this October in Moscow for MMA and kickboxing promotion United Glory, which is owned and operated by Golden Glory.
Zuffa responded by cutting Overeem and has now released Golden Glory fighters Marloes Coenen, Jon Olav Einemo and Valentijn Overeem.
Golden Glory coach Martijn de Jong broke the news over Twitter.
“I am very disappointed to let you know that @MarloesCoenen @JohnEinemo and ValentijnOvereem have been cut from @Strikeforce @ufc,” de Jong wrote.
The only question remaining is how this will affect grand prix participant Sergei Kharitonov, who not only trains with Golden Glory, but is also scheduled for the same United Glory card as Alistair Overeem.
BLOW YOUR OWN HORN
There’s nothing wrong with being patient and polite.
But in the fight game, sometimes it’s worth demanding what’s rightfully yours.
Take UFC lightweight Jim Miller as an example of how not to promote yourself. He’s on a seven fight win streak and is set to meet former WEC champion Benson Henderson on Aug. 14. But even if he wins, he refuses to ask for a shot at the UFC titleholder.
“I try not to focus on any of that, and focus at the task at hand,” Miller said on a recent conference call. “I’m a person that wants a challenge. I want the tough road. I want to fight all the best guys. If I feel like I can be the UFC champ, then whoever they’re going to stick in my way on my way up to that point I should be able to beat. I’ll just keep fighting. If they throw me in there against somebody else, then so be it.”
WIN OR ELSE
Mike Thomas Brown knows it’s do or die when he faces Nam Phan at UFC 133 Saturday.
After joining the UFC roster in January, the former WEC featherweight champion lost consecutive decisions to Diego Nunes and Rani Yahya in the span of only 21 days.
On a recent episode of the MMA Hour, Brown admitted he shot himself in the foot by fighting twice in the same month.
“I thought it would have eased my mind and cut some of my problems down,” Brown said. “But I doubled my problems with that one.”
Since he’s only won two of his last five fights since dropping the title to Jose Aldo, Brown knows his UFC career is on the line.
“I’m going crazy; I can’t wait to go in there and get the job done,” Brown said. “I need this one bad. And I’m amped.”